Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Banana Republic Mad about “Mad Men”


styleguide1Waiting for your star power to be discovered? Retailer Banana Republic and cable network AMC are joining up to promote the third season of “Mad Men,” the Emmy Award-winning early 60s-era drama set in a Madison Avenue ad agency.
A lucky customer may even win the chance for a walk-on role in an upcoming episode and a $1,000 gift card from Banana Republic, which is owned by Gap Inc
To get you ready for your close-up, Banana Republic is promoting the show in all its North American stores leading up to its August 16 premiere, with mannequins dressed in classic early ’60s styles and even a “Mad Men” style guide.

Think sharp suits, wide skirts, form-fitting sheath dresses, fedoras and pearls.
“The Banana Republic partnership is testament to the broad influence the series has had on the world of design,” said AMC President and General Manager Charlie Collier.

(Photo: Banana Republic)

A new edition for Banana


earring1A new accessories store from Gap Inc chain Banana Republic is set to open in San Francisco in May. The boutique, Edition by Banana Republic, is a test for the apparel giant, and an opportunity to explore merchandising and design ideas for the accessories sold in Banana Republic stores.

The boutique in downtown’s Westfield San Francisco Centre will feature limited-edition jewelry, as well as handbags and other accessories, such as sunglasses and personal care items.
Most items will be priced below $100, Gap said.
Sales of accessories have been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal retail landscape since last year. With their lower price points — and higher profit margins — accessories have managed to maintain their luster with many women, who are jazzing up existing wardrobes while giving a cold shoulder to new apparel purchases.
The items available in Edition by Banana Republic will be unique to the store and won’t be available online or in the retailers’ other chains — even Banana Republic.

At Banana, never having to pay full price — until May 1


USA/The retail industry  is debating what the drastic discounts that were offered during the holiday season now means for “full priced” selling in 2009.

After becoming accustomed to discounts of 50, 60 or 70 percent, will consumers tolerate paying the full amount listed on a price tag? And if so, when will that happen? And does “full price” now mean selling items for 10 percent to 20 percent below what they were sold for a year ago?

Friends, family and a note from the President (of


With retailers worried over the prospects for the holiday season (The Commerce Department said on Friday that retail sales slumped 2.8 percent in October — the largest decline since the department’s current methodology was adopted in 1992), they are expanding their definition of friends and family.

While “Friend & Family” sales used to be special events actually reserved for the friends and family members of a retailer’s employees, today it takes little more than an e-mail address to be considered a retailer’s friend.